On Frustruation & Failure

Anyone with the ability to look at a calendar will know that it’s been a long time since my last post. A loooong time, in fact. It’s very hard to put my finger on why this is – it isn’t just one single factor – rather, it’s a combination of things. Where to start?

The final third of 2015 was a bit rough. I was very unexpectedly asked to leave my job with no notice – a job that I thought I had been doing well at, but other people disagreed. As the sole breadwinner I suddenly found myself in that horrible position of no job, no income and no self-confidence. Thankfully we have some money in savings so we had a cushion, but it was a torrid time.

When it got to the end of my first month of job-hunting and no job despite several really good interviews (everyone loved me, but nobody had a role available), it began to get really, really demoralising. If I’m honest I felt like I’d never find a job again and that everything was totally and utterly hopeless. I had a lot of very dark thoughts.

But finally, as so often happens a great opportunity came along and they wanted to move quickly – meaning I found myself back in work 7 weeks after having left my old job.

I did try and take some walks around the park in the glorious sunshine we were having

It’s funny, because during the time I was off I felt too *guilty* to do anything I wanted to do. I felt I should spend all my time looking for work, not making the most of finally having some time to and for myself. Yet I knew that the minute I did find a job, I’d kick myself for not having done more with the time.

Guess how I felt (other than relieved) when I landed the new job? Sad I’d not made more “use” of the time!

It didn’t help that during this time I tried to make some headway on a few sewing projects I’d had in mind – I’d sewn 2 items previously that hadn’t been too successful (the Colette Moneta muslin being one) and I wanted to complete a project. Unfortunately I hate the last 2 items I completed during that period I also hate. They’re sewn technically well, but the fit is horrible. This has led to an influx of thoughts about how much I hate my body.

Let me distract you with this cute video of a butterfly I took on a visit we did to Trpical World

Other than our wedding anniversary, in the 7 weeks I didn’t really allow myself much time at all. I tried to start up running again in the mornings – I went TWICE. Trev and I went out a couple of times to the park and Tropical World, but that was it during the week. Most days I could barely muster the will to get out of bed and spent a lot of the first few weeks just crying, feeling suicidal and horrible.

It’s funny how things can change – I couldn’t be happier in my new job and in the long run I’m sure I’ll feel like it all worked out for the best. I still have almost of the negative feelings about myself – the intense frustration at not being perfect at a) my job, b) how I look/feel, c) sewing and d) just feeling like I fail at almost anything I touch or try. In 2015 I tried to be kinder to myself and didn’t really manage it, but what I realised as we headed into 2016 is that a lot of these feelings are part of who I am. Discovering that I most likely sit somewhere on the autistic spectrum and that my brain is wired totally differently to the “average” person has led to me having to adjust the way I think about everything in my life, including my perception of myself and my “failings”.

What point am I trying to make? In catching up on sewing blogs last week I came across this great post from Heather Lou at Closet Case files called, “Just Make It Already” – articulating a lot of the thoughts and fears sewists have – those voices telling us that we can’t do this, or that we’ll try and fail. Or when we make something and all we can do is point out the flaws in it – rather than highlighting the fact that we made this item of clothing with our own bare hands.

I’m a sucker for this – not just in sewing, but in life. I refuse to acknowledge what I’ve achieved and instead focus on the failures or areas where I haven’t quite attained perfection and I have to STOP. Coming to terms with my autistic brain will be part of this, but I’m hoping continuing to sew and making other things will help me on this journey.

Heather Lou had another great post where she talks about the effect of gaining weight on sewing – I gained a lot of weight in 2015. I gained, rather than lost the 5 kilos i wanted to lose, meaning that nothing I own fits. I’m not keen on making items now that may not fit me in six months. But if I don’t do that and I never lose weight, I’ll never sew. I can always buy more fabric and make something else. In the meantime I can be wearing (hopefully) beautiful things and improving my skills.

So, I think I’ve reached the end. Let’s all be kinder to ourselves in 2016 – forgiving of both our own flaws and those in the items we make – instead trying to focus on what’s good and worthy of mention. I’ve got a stack of unblogged stuff I need to post about over the coming weeks so I’ll try and catch up.

I’ll finish with a reminder to myself more than anyone, that even when things have generally been cold and dark and difficult, there can be wonderful moments of sunshine, clear blue skies and the joy of being with someone you love on an adventure. Even better when you can feature your own handknits (see – I can make something GOOD!)

Us on the cliffs at Bempton during the trip we took to Scarborough last month


5 thoughts on “On Frustruation & Failure

  1. Azzy, I’ve missed seeing your posts and my twitter-feed goes by so fast. I’m thrilled that you have managed to find your footing somewhat. Though hearing you have had dark thoughts concerns me.

    1. Hey Charlie

      Good to hear from you – I know what you mean about Twitter – it’s very tough to stay on top of everything. I find Instagram and blogs easier to keep up with!

      Don’t worry about the dark thoughts – it’s more a facet of my personality that comes and goes – sometimes it shouts louder than others, but we’re back in a quiet period now 🙂

      Hope you guys are well x

  2. Hi Azzy – sorry to hear you had such a tough time back in the autumn. Here’s hoping 2016 deals you a better hand, and that you get to sew and knit the things you love. (I love the hat BTW – it’s amazing!)

    1. Thanks Janet! 2016 has been pretty good so far and I’m sure things will continue to get better. I hope it’s treating you well too? The hat is Snawheid by Kate Davies – I knit it last winter complete with matching mittens – I can’t help but smiles when I wear it 🙂

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